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Port of Tauranga lifts profits a little, despite challenges

The country’s biggest port has slightly increased profits, despite a drop in ship visits and cargo volumes.

Port of Tauranga has slightly increased its profits.
Photo: Nigel Waters/ Unsplash

Port of Tauranga’s net profit for the six months ended December was $49.4 million, up 2 percent from a year ago.
Revenue was up 3 percent to nearly $160m, even though the number of ships calling was down about 15 percent, so less cargo and containers arrived.
Port chief executive Mark Cairns said strong performance from its various businesses, stevedoring, logistics, and stakes in ports in Timaru and Northland helped to lift the overall result.
However, the port was impacted by congestion and disruption at Ports of Auckland, Cairns said.
“It is having a very significant effect – we had 11 vessels divert and call.
“On the flip side, we had 50 fewer vessels call and we’re having much greater exchanges… really it’s causing a lot of congestion.”
Delays for imports were inconvenient, but delays in getting exports away could have serious economic impacts, he said.
“We’ll really be in trouble and if we don’t sort ourselves out, we’re going to be there very quickly.”
Cairns said Ports of Auckland needed to sort out its problems as fast as possible and Kiwi Rail needed to schedule more trains to move empty containers to where they were needed.
He was frustrated at how long it was taking to get a fast-track consent hearing for a fourth container ship berth, despite the project being “shovel ready”.
“It’s critical infrastructure, which we’ve been consulting on for over a year.
“People agree the Resource Management Act is broke, but we’ve got to do something to get this in place,” Cairns said.
The company has a series of inland freight hubs, which are connected to the port by rail, and is currently developing a new one near Hamilton in partnership with Tainui Holdings.
The port’s second half outlook is uncertain, given supply chain problems.
But Cairns, who leaves the company in June after 15 years, said it was strong enough to cope.
The port is forecasting a full year profit between $94m and $100m.